On my discussion of the goings on in my life I am going to start to incorporate how starting a graduate degree in a foreign university is impacting my life. As you might know, I have been traveling extensively this summer in the cause of trying to spend time with friends and family before heading out to London in September. The implications of my upcoming move are starting to take significant root and notice in my life, especially over the last couple of weeks. This week has been a week of reminiscing of past great memories, discussing the future, and tying up the loose ends in paperwork for my visa and scholarship.   
Wednesday I returned from a great time in New York City with two of my longest kept friends. We went to high school and all but one year of college together. The reality that I will spend around four months months without seeing them face-to-face definitely hit me hard. During my time in NYC I got the news of receiving a scholarship to graduate school and it was a pleasure to share in the joy with these two. Over the years I have shared many joys and struggles with these friends and it is hard to think what it will be like to only share these times over the phone while I am in London.
This week I also started to schedule times to hang out with several other extremely close friends. This is taking a variety of forms from sporting events to grabbing a bite to eat. The sadness of scheduling these times is overwhelming surpassed by the joys of spending time with these great people who help make life so special. It is a pleasure to talk to these people and hear about the great things occurring in their lives and to look forward to the many exciting times ahead of us. I will never forget the imprint my friends and family have on my life. In a very real way they have given me a large portion of the strength and encouragement to know that I will be okay and make friends in a new environment in the upcoming year.
Additionally I had the world renown joy of preparing paperwork! This took two primarily outlets, the first was my Tier 4 Student Visa to the United Kingdom. My university was great at providing information as soon as I needed it for my visa. However, it was my first time preparing a student visa and I had to email several times to get a variety of information that I did not have or even knew I needed at first. If you are ever in a situation where you are applying for a visa I would recommend you contact someone that knows what they are doing because I ended up writing in a wrong number on the visa application and had to contact my university, get the proper number, and edit my application. Finally, part of the scholarship I am receiving from my university required my to complete a form describing myself. This resulted on working on an essay late the night I returned home from NYC. Fun times. Or if I am being honest with myself, just another memory of a late night writing before a deadline 😉
This time has been exceptional. Nothing this summer has felt truly “normal”. Part of that is the travel. Part of that is the reality of upcoming substantial changes. All I know is that I cannot do this alone and that I need a lot of help along the way, which I am deeply grateful for receiving. I hope that you can be wise enough to not procrastinate on deadlines when you are preparing paperwork and to have the humility to ask questions when you are in an unfamiliar situation. 
Your friend,

James             

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